Daily Archives: May 15, 2010

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly: A High Court with No Protestants

[BOB] ABERNETHY: Kagan’s confirmation would also mean that for the first time in American history the Supreme Court would have no Protestants. Does this matter? If so, what does it say about the place of Protestantism in America today? Joining me is Kim Lawton, our managing editor. Kim, I want to have a little discussion about this. People are saying, Protestants are saying, well, yes, this is a big symbol and they’re sad about it, of declining Protestant influence in this country. But at the same time I hear other people saying it’s really good news, because it is a symbol of how far the country has come in overcoming the anti-Catholic and anti-Jewish prejudice that existed for so long””still exists, but there’s been a lot of progress made on that. And they also say it matters a lot more what somebody thinks, a Supreme Court justice thinks, on a particular issue than what kind of religious label that person wears. You hear that?

KIM LAWTON, managing editor: Well, it is interesting. I mean, nobody is saying that she shouldn’t be confirmed because it throws the religious balance of the court out, or anything like that, but it has been a very interesting moment to take stock of this change in our society. But, yeah, what I’m hearing from people, what I heard from one Protestant pastor this week was he said to me I’m less concerned about her religious affiliation than I am about how she’s going to vote on, for example, some of the religion cases, and certainly that those ideas of the separation of church and state and what kind of relationship the government and religion should have””that’s been very controversial. There have been some very close decisions on the court, and so what she thinks about that, for example, is going to have a big impact no matter what kind of religious label she carries.

Read or watch the the whole thing.

Posted in Uncategorized

In Western Mass. New rector Tanya R. Wallace has found her 'perfect place'

All Saints Episcopal Church is a congregation of about 200 members; it’s a welcoming, diverse congregation. When the Rev. Tanya R. Wallace arrived to serve as rector in September, she decided it was “the perfect place” for her.

“They are such devoted, faithful people. It’s a joy to be working with them,” she said.

Wallace wanted “to be very intentional” about moving forward with the congregation in ways members wanted to function as a parish.

So she began the process of developing a five-year plan, convening a long-range planning committee and hosting a series of listening sessions to which all members of the 50-year-old church were invited to express their thoughts on “who we are as a congregation and where we’re going.”

There’s a mix of people in the parish, from the young families who are joining to the founding members who remain part of the church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

Wall St. Slides, Fearing Return to a Recession

Investors, who had started the week reassured by the huge rescue of Europe’s indebted nations, expressed second thoughts on Friday, sending markets lower and further devaluing the euro on concerns that the austerity measures required by the bailout would stunt the Continent’s already anemic economic growth.

The euro fell to its lowest level in 18 months, and bank stocks on both sides of the Atlantic took a beating.

Investors seemed fearful that the $957 billion bailout package for Greece and other nations, while providing short-term protection against default, might drag out the economic pain and hurt the financial system in the process.

A continued hammering of the euro would make European exports cheaper, but the side effect would be weaker American exports, potentially dragging the United States ”” and the rest of the world ”” back toward recession.

“What you get is markets worrying about a whole cascading of weakness stemming from Europe being transmitted through the euro to the United States,” said Martin Murenbeeld, chief economist at DundeeWealth Economics in Toronto.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Economy, Europe, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Debit Fee Cut Is a Rare Loss for Big Banks

Retailers have begged Congress for years, in vain, to limit the fees they must pay to banks when customers swipe credit or debit cards. Bills never reached a vote. Amendments were left on the table. The Senate did not even grant the courtesy of a committee hearing.

That long record of futility ended in a landslide Thursday night. Sixty-four senators, including 17 Republicans, agreed to impose price controls on debit transactions over the furious objections of the beleaguered banking industry.

The amendment to the Senate’s sweeping financial legislation could save billions of dollars for family restaurants and dry cleaners, Wal-Mart and Amazon.com, and every other business whose customers increasingly pay with debit cards. It does not address credit card fees directly.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, The Banking System/Sector

Telegraph–First partnered lesbian bishop to be consecrated by Anglican church in America

The Rev Mary Glasspool will become Assistant Bishop of Los Angeles in a “grand event” taking place at a 13,500-seat arena on the Californian coast.

Her appointment is being made despite warnings from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, about the “serious questions” it will raise for the 80 million-strong Anglican Communion.

It is being viewed by traditionalists as another “provocative” move by the ultra-liberal Episcopal Church of the USA in “defiance” of pleas not to go against tradition and Scripture by ordaining homosexual bishops.

Read the whole piece.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

BBC–US Church set to ordain partnered lesbian bishop

The election of Mary Glasspool – who has been with her partner Becki for 22 years – represented a snub by the liberal Episcopal Church to other Anglican Churches around the world.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams had urged the American Church not to proceed with the ordination, warning that it would further alienate traditionalists who believe active homosexuality to be a sin.

It is likely to accelerate the gradual marginalisation of the Episcopal Church within a two-tier Communion and increase tensions between Anglicans elsewhere.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

Same Sex Partnered priest will become Episcopal bishop in Long Beach Saturday

The national Episcopal Church has more than 2.2 million members in 16 countries. It is under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Communion, which has more than 70 million members worldwide. While many churches in the United States and Western Europe have accepted gay clergy, most in Asia and Africa condemn homosexuality.

The issue intensified when the first gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson, was consecrated in the Diocese of New Hampshire in 2003. As a result, many parishes broke from the church, including All Saints Episcopal Church of Long Beach.

This time around, [Canon Robert ] Williams said he hasn’t heard of any local parishes threatening to leave the dioceses. He said the church is overjoyed for today’s event and is committed to moving forward.

“The Episcopal Church continues its long tradition of members of diverse points of view yet who are united in common prayer,” Williams said. “While a small percentage have chosen to disaffiliate in recent years, there remains a strong and vibrant core membership.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

Day of Prayer for response to ECUSA’s action and for appointment of Bishop of Southwark

From here:

Today Bishops of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America (ECUSA) pray episcopal consecration prayers over the Revd Mary Glasspool, who lives in an openly same-sex relationship.

Today, St Lawrence Morden, in the Diocese of Southwark, together with other congregation members from the team parish, keeps a day of prayer on Leith Hill, Surrey. As well as confessing individual sin, they will mourn the passing of the Anglican Communion as it has been. They will celebrate the emergence of a renewed communion, led by the large majority of Anglicans in the Global South, and intercede over the response to ECUSA’s action, by Archbishop Rowan Williams and other Church of England Bishops. We will give thanks for the unity of our Diocese maintained by recently retired Bishop, Tom Butler. We call on Anglican churches around the world to pray with us, over the appointment of the next Bishop of Southwark.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

Tony Clavier on the Los Angeles Action–Later Today

All seems oddly quiet on this day when Canon Mary Glasspool will be ordained and consecrated at a Suffragan Bishop of Los Angeles. Yet the consequences may well be graver than ensued after the Bishop of New Hampshire was consecrated in 2003. Then it could be said with some plausibility that no one in TEC realized what a fuss would emerge. No one is in any doubt this time. The Archbishop of Canterbury has made it clear that there will be consequences for TEC in its relationship with the Communion and there will be consequences within the Communion.

I read this morning an interview in the Baltimore Sun with Canon Glasspool which includes a short video. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/anne-arundel/bs-md-glasspool-bishop-consecration-20100507,0,73

A number of points were raised which invite comment….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, Theology

WSJ–Google Says It Mistakenly Collected Data on Web Usage

Google Inc. said an internal investigation has discovered that the roving vans the company uses to create its online mapping services were mistakenly collecting data about websites people were visiting over wireless networks.

The Internet giant said it would stop collecting Wi-Fi data from its StreetView vans, which workers drive to capture street images and to locate Wi-Fi networks. The company said it would dispose of the data it had accidentally collected.

Alan Eustace, senior vice president of engineering and research for Google, wrote in a blog post that the company uncovered the mistake while responding to a German data-protection agency’s request for it to audit the Wi-Fi data, amid mounting concerns that Google’s practices violated users’ privacy.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Science & Technology, Theology

Mark Steyn–The Self-Mutilation Of The West

What with the Fort Hood mass murderer, the Christmas Pantybomber and now the Times Square Bomber, you may have noticed a little uptick in attempted terrorist attacks on the U.S. mainland in the last few months.

Representative Lamar Smith did, and, at the House Judiciary Committee, was interested to see if the Attorney-General of the United States thought there might be any factor in common between these perplexingly diverse incidents.

“In the case of all three attempts in the last year, the terrorist attempts, one of which was successful, those individuals have had ties to radical Islam,” said Congressman Smith. “Do you feel that these individuals might have been incited to take the actions that they did because of radical Islam?”

“Because of …?”

“Radical Islam,” repeated Smith.

“There are a variety of reasons why I think people have taken these actions,” replied Eric Holder non-committally. “I think you have to look at each individual case….”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Europe, Foreign Relations, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

Online Talk, Suicides and a Thorny Court Case

The seemingly empathetic nurse struck up conversations over the Internet with people who were pondering suicide. She told them what methods worked best. She told some that it was all right to let go, that they would be better in heaven, and entered into suicide pacts with others.

But the police say the nurse, who sometimes called herself Cami and described herself as a young woman, was actually William F. Melchert-Dinkel, a 47-year-old husband and father from Faribault, Minn., who now stands charged with two counts of aiding suicide.

Mr. Melchert-Dinkel, whose lawyer declined an interview request on his behalf, told investigators that his interest in “death and suicide could be considered an obsession,” court documents say, and that he sought the “thrill of the chase.” While the charges stem from two deaths ”” one in Britain in 2005 and one in Canada in 2008 ”” Mr. Melchert-Dinkel, who was indeed a licensed practical nurse, told investigators that he had most likely encouraged dozens of people to kill themselves, court documents said. He said he could not be sure how many had succeeded.

The case, chilling and ghoulish, raises thorny issues in the Internet age, both legal and otherwise. For instance, many states have laws barring assisting suicide, but rarely have cases involved people not in the same room (much less the same country) or the sharing of only words (not guns or pills).

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Law & Legal Issues, Psychology, Suicide

Baltimore Sun–Episcopal bishop-elect prepares for historic move to Los Angeles

The Maryland priest at the center of a seismic tumult in the worldwide international Anglican Communion is slim and stands just over five feet, wears her gray hair cut short and greets visitors with a strong two-handed grasp. She’s known to former parishioners and colleagues for emotional and insightful sermons, administrative skill, high energy ”” and for occasionally wearing a giant foam wedge of cheese on her head to honor her favorite NFL team.

The Rev. Canon Mary Douglas Glasspool, due to be consecrated Saturday as bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, is known to the rest of the world by a phrase that would fit on a bumper sticker: “First openly lesbian bishop.”

If the label seems handy, Glasspool said she hopes it soon outlives its usefulness.

“People who know me, the label will disappear. All I’m asking is an opportunity to get to know me,” Glasspool, 56, said last week in an interview at the Baltimore headquarters of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. As canon to the bishops for the last nine years, she has served there as principal adviser to the leaders of the church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles